My German Shorthair might be too energetic for my family. What should i do?

I have a German Short hair dog who will be 1 in January. I have a daughter who just turned 1 in November and my wife who cant seem to handle the dog. I hunt with him almost every weekend and i love being outside with him. the problem that i am having is that he likes to run all over the house when he is not in his kennel and he doesn’t always obey his commands when i have given them to him. Any ways i can get him to calm down so that he can be with the family more often. I have not taken any classes with him, he knows sit and stay. But not all the time, probably more like 80 percent of the time. I take him for walks twice a day and he loves every minute of them. Anything else i might be able to do to try and get him to settle so he can be with the family? thanks.

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21 Responses to “My German Shorthair might be too energetic for my family. What should i do?”

  1. Steph O says:

    First of all, good job not just saying "screw it" and giving him up. I have a very active dog too, a border collie/heeler mix. She was the same way. What I did was I got a Springer dog leash. This is a thing that attaches to the seat post of your bike and minimizes pulling. Run him, gradually adding more and more time, building up his stamina and paw pads. My girl can run for an hour and a half, and she’s 5. I imagine if you have time for two walks, you can fit in a two hour bike ride? It’s best to do it in the morning-little traffic, and he gets tired so he can nap during the day and leave your wife alone. Springers are available at Petsmart (not petco) and on Good luck; GSPs are great dogs.

  2. AnimalsAreNotThings says:

    You need to do puppy training classes and be patient. Puppies are hyper, especially that breed. I’m glad you spend time with him and don’t just ignore him because he’s so crazy.

  3. VAgirl says:

    Ok-hate to say this but, you need to do more work. How long/far are the walks? GSPs need long walks or a yard for exercise. I would say 1-2 miles a day minimum. And that is including the weekend hunts. He also needs an obiediance class-not to be mean, but if you could have him trained yourself you wouldn’t be on here. If you ask him to sit and he doesn’t-formce his butt to a sit. If he thinks that the sit command is "sit sit sit sit" then he won’t do it the first time. And your wife needs to work with him too-not just you. If she isn’t on board you have a problem. I will say that you should be coming out of puppyhood in a few more months, but that won’t help much if he isn’t trained. It isn’t a fast fix or a easy one, but it is the only one you have.

  4. Lora D says:

    How long are the walks? You should probably take him on 2 hour walk/runs 2times a days a dog like that needs to burn off energy. Is he still on puppy food if he is put him on dog food. I suggest Royal Canin its great stuff. Any way He needs stuff to keep his mind busy he will mellow out when he is around 3years old. Do training with him everyday and have your wife with you to be apart of it he needs to respect her & the baby. When walking him he should walk beside you not in front of you. When you take him out of the house you should leave 1st then him. That goes for your wife & the baby. He must respect everyone in that house & know that the people are the boss.

  5. greekman says:

    I feel your pain, but, I love dogs like that. If you are hunting him every weekend it means he has plenty of hunt drive for detection work. There are many trainers around the country that would love to have a dog like that to train. If you want to, you may contact one of them and see if they would be willing to buy him, if you want to sell him and get another dog, or trade him for a dog that is not as hyper. If not, you need to get into an obedience class that will teach him the basics and you can start by having him hold short "down stays" and extend their duration as he becomes more dependable. He cannot act like a maniac AND hold a down stay. Other then that you have a really hyper dog and you will need to accept that.

  6. HoneyBee says:

    i have 2 german shorthairs and one of them when we got her (Cady) she was reallyy hyper and wouldnt calm down we had to walk her a lot but it didnt really help. so i trained her heel, sit, stay, shake, high five, rol over, and it helped her concentration and we took her to one obedience class out in the park and it helped us learn how to get her attention. the first 2 yrs are the worst, and really the best thing to do is wait cady is now four and the best dog we could ask for we almost got rid of her but now shes the perfect family dog and is as loyal as can be this may not be helpful but really age is the best thing to calm them down, but try training and letting him be by himself we have a half acre and about half of the time cady just goes outside and hunts squirrels and birds. you really just have to wait it out. good luck!

  7. ajgeiger38 says:

    German Shorthairs are very energetic dogs, and need a lot of exercise. Obedience training may work, they are very people oriented dogs. If the dog is still only 1 year old, some of this may just be puppyish behavior.

    Encourage slowing down in the house, so maybe put him on a leash and walk around the house at the pace you want him to take. Do this daily, and talk encouragingly to the dog while you walk. You need to reinforce good behaviour when you see it, this will tell him that you approve of what he is doing.

    Make sure his outdoor space has enough room to really run in. If your wife is intimidated by the dog, putting him in a run will be a good alternative to upsetting the household.

  8. twilightstar56 says:

    My aunt has this same dog, get use to it he wont snap out of that behavior till he gets up there in years, they have a collar that calms the dog down and makes him listen to all his commands, dont know what its called but it has a pager on it so all you have to do is press it and say his name and he will come running to you and sit and if he doesnt listen or is a bad boy it has a button you press that nicks him with a small zap and lets him know he was bad, the results where amazing he use to be the jump on you run around the house psyco before then after they got the collar he doesnt run around the house and listens to everything they say, so maybe get the collar and try it out and if that doesnt work then you need to make a outdoor pen or find your sweetie pie a good home!

  9. the_most_happy17 says:

    Two leash walks a day is unfortunately not enough exercise for a 1 year old dog this size. just think, after these walks are you tired enough to lay around? if not, then he definitely isn’t either. is there an enclosed area you could take him to to run him instead of the walks? 20 minutes of running twice a day would probably make a huge difference, and wouldn’t take any longer than a walk. if there are no enclosed areas, there are 30 and 50ft leashes that allow a lot of running.

    a one year old dog is at it’s peak of energy and adolescent crazyness. do more training with him, practice commands etc. mental excercise can calm a dog down also. just don’t give up on him, he will calm down as he gets older (even though he’ll still need lots of exercise). he sounds like a good dog, and he deserves the chance. get him a kong so your wife can stuff it with canned food, peanut butter, or something else tasty. freeze it and let him go to town, it will keep him busy for a while. also obedience classes are fun for you and him and might make a difference!

  10. witters says:


    It’s important you study the breed and find what they were bred to do. Then try to fulfill the potential of the dog’s natural instincts.
    I also suggest you get your dog into Agility training aswell as your walks. You should get toys for him that have treats in them – This will give the dog something to do that can take hours. Dogs need three things to be happy ( in this order)
    Exercise – Discipline and love.

  11. lucklygirl101 says:

    I have the same thing! i have a White German Shepherd and he is like that to. he loves to be outside but yet, he can’t be still in the house. so the only thing we can do is put him in a fence. you could built a fence near your house and get a doggie door that might help that is what we do with our other dogs which is a Blue heeler.or if that’s to much why not get him a collar that shocks him if he is near the road or somewhere that he might get hurt. that is what we did with the White German Shepherd it might get his engry out and be more clam. or if that’s to much too why not take him to a someone would can train him and get the engry out. hope that helps and good luck!

  12. Pam says:

    he doesn’t need walks, he needs to run!

  13. chetco says:

    It would help if you fed him a kibble with no corn or wheat, as those grains convert to sugars too quickly, and increase the
    ‘sugar-high’ hyperactivity. A kibble with turkey as its base meat would also be beneficial..Canidae is available in most local pet supplies, and has more turkey than it has rice, so would be a calming food. Also, make sure you are not feeding any food coloring, in kibble or treats..You can make you own turkey jerky as a safe, healthy, and calming treat..

  14. jaws1013 says:

    It is great that you are getting him out walking every day, but you didn’t mention how long the walks were and their intensity. You may want to egt him a doggy backpack and fill it with water bottles and talk him for a good long vigorous walk 2x a day. They extra weight may help in expending some of his energy.

    You may also want to invest in some obedience classes. Try to find one with a trainer who is also well versed in behavior modification. This way you get the best of both worlds, consistantcy and exercise will help him become the perfect family dog.

    Good luck

  15. CRF says:

    Training and exercise. You have a high energy dog, so he’ll need to be really exercised every day. Take him somewhere fenced and let him run or take him somewhere safe on a very long lead and play ball or something with him at least once a day so he has an outlet for his energy.

    As far as getting him to obey, you have to 100% consistent with enforcing the rules. It would probably be best to enroll him in classes at your local pet store and have you AND your wife go. The dog should listen to BOTH of you. With appropriate training, the dog should learn what is expected of it and will calm down. The trainer can also help you get the dog adjusted to needing to be careful around the baby. I think PetSmart’s training classes run around $100 and they meet once a week for a couple of months and you can stop in and ask the trainer questions any time after that. It’s well worth it for the peace it will bring to your house.

  16. Shepherdgirl says:

    This is why research is so important when getting a dog. You could try giving him more exercise because two walks a day is not enough for this breed. Another thing you can do is get him into some obedience classes.

  17. mitz says:

    Get him in to obedience training. Keep training him too. It takes time and patience. I have a 6 month old Shiztu and have been through the same thing. Hang in there. It will take some time. Good Luck.

  18. Emily J says:

    I would keep doing what you are doing, but maybe go for longer walks at a time. I would also remember that he is a puppy and he will calm down once he is a little older.

  19. S C says:

    Well since its a working breed it will need work to learn to behave. See a behaviorist and work work work and then work some more and eventually he will learn that you behave differently in a house than outside. I had a German Wire haired pointer (used for quail hunting) and my dad took him to obedience class and after that he just continued to work with him and discipline him when necessary and soon he was the most obedient dog I have ever seen.

  20. Reflector says:

    It sounds like you are giving him plenty of exercise. That is a good start. Get a book or two from the library, specifically made for training German Short Hair dogs. Your dog will be much happier trained.

    Good Luck!

  21. JR says:

    My friend got two other dogs to keep hers occupied. He is a handful for their family too and he’s 5. Its the only dog she purchased the rest were all rescue ad he wears them all out.

    But it might help for himto have a playmate. I wouldn’t get a puppy maybe 6-8 months old maybe a beagle mix that might also enjoy hunting with you.

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